fighting spreads to North Kivu as diplomacy heats up in Kinshasa

Goma residents worry about possible shortages

The fighting continued this Saturday, November 12, 2022 in North Kivu. New violent clashes have pitted the Congolese army against M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. And the violence reached the territory of Nyiragongo, neighboring Rutshuru.

For the first time since May, fighting was reported in Nyiragongo territory, south of Rutshuru. Several sources mention detonations heard near Kibumba, about twenty kilometers north of Goma.

The Congolese army does not comment on these clashes. Also impossible to have for the moment an official assessment, whether on the side of the government or the FARDC. This Saturday, the civil society of Rumangabo, a locality of Rutshuru occupied by the M23, evoked in a press release a dozen deaths among the civilians for the only day of Friday – consequences of the clashes.

Humanitarian Corridor

Civil society, which now asks the “ two belligerents, to the national and international community » to set up a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to evacuate the areas in conflict. A corridor of 72 hours from Sunday, November 13. Nevertheless, many refugees continue to return to IDP sites.

According to the United Nations, 188,000 people have left their homes since October 20 following this violence, i.e. almost 240,000 displaced since the start of this security crisis. The mayor of Goma, who is facing a major influx, has appealed for solidarity for all the victims of these clashes. They have therefore now overflowed the borders of Rutshuru.

The Angolan President in Kinshasa

At the same time, diplomacy continues its efforts. Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi and his Angolan counterpart João Lourenço met for 24 hours on Saturday November 12 in Kinshasa to discuss the crisis in North Kivu. Appointed mediator by the African Union and the SADC, the Angolan president came from Rwanda where he met President Paul Kagame.

For two hours, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi and João Lourenço had a one-on-one this Saturday afternoon. But the two heads of state did not make statements to the press, preferring to leave the floor to their respective foreign ministers.

“We will not be able to go into the details of the discussions that took place in Kigali, just like the discussions that took place in Kinshasa. But we assure you that the Heads of State will continue to work”, assured the Angolan Minister Tété Antonio.

On the Congolese side, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Christophe Lutundula hailed the commitment of the populations to defend their territory. “Defending one’s country is a civic obligation throughout the world. The Head of State has launched a call for mobilization to defend the cause of the nation: this cannot be discussed, it is carried out, ”he said.

None of the ministers mentioned the substance of the discussions between the Angolan mediator and President Félix Tshisekedi. And tomorrow Sunday, the ex-president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, appointed facilitator in the same crisis by the Economic Community of East Africa, will land in Kinshasa.